Google made a bunch a new product announcements with their Pixel phones, Daydream View VR headset, and Chromecast Ultra 4K dongle, but in this post I’ll write about two other new products: Google Home an Amazon Echo competitor powered by Google Assistant and supporting multi-room, as well as Google WiFi (Mesh) router aiming at providing WiFi all over the house by combining multiple WiFi routers.
Most households now use a single router to provide WiFi to the home, but inevitably this introduce some dead or “slow WiFi” zones within the house. One way to work around this is to use WiFi repeaters, but it’s not always easy to setup and may lead to lower bandwidth. Google WiFi router uses a technology called mesh WiFi, where each router work together to determine the best path for your data using Network Assist technology to automatically choose and update the best channel for your device in real-time.
The router(s) can also be managed with an Android or iOS app, for example to pause WiFi for your kids when it’s time to go to bed or dinner, prioritize devices within your network, etc…
Google Wifi will be up for pre-order in the US in November for $129 for a single router, and $299 for a pack of three routers on Google Store, Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart. Visit the product page for more details.
Google Home is Google’s answer to Amazon Echo, a voice controlled system to play music locally or from services such as Google Music, Pandora, Spotify…, get answers to questions, manage home automation (IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings…), adjust the thermostat or lights (Nest, Philips Hue), etc… But instead of Alexa software, the device relies on Google Assistant.
Google did not provie many technical details about “Home”, but we do know it uses two omnidirectional microphones and neural beamforming in order to hear people from across the room, and “integrates a high-excursion driver with a dual passive radiator design that delivers crystal-clear highs and deep lows for Hi-Fi sound”.
Google Home supports multi-room features so you can have multuple Google Home devices or Chromecast Audio devices playing music all aroudn the house, while at the same time being smart enough to only answer questions within the room your are located.